Home > Out (The Omega Collective #3)(5)

Out (The Omega Collective #3)(5)
Author: Mina Carter

He hadn’t meant to say that last bit out loud. He didn’t owe this strange, slightly defective female an explanation for his actions. She owed him answers.

“Oh, I’m sorry. If I’m such a pain in the ass you should probably just let me go. Easier for both of us that way.”

His next word came out as a raw snarl. “Never.”

He ignored the depth of feeling at her suggestion or the surge of… something at the idea of her leaving. It was just because he didn’t want to lose the only source of data he had. Well, that wasn’t precisely true. He now had access to two omegas—those belonging to his fellow warriors—but he didn’t have access often. Both omegas had very possessive and protective alphas and neither liked any other male near their females for too long. In fact, Rath had taken his female out of the citadel for something he called a honeymoon—a human word no doubt.

No, this female, this not-beta, was his best lead on what the xarth was wrong with the omegas on this planet. They weren’t normal. Defective in fact. And he was going to get to the bottom of it.

But first, he needed to be sure she was unhurt. N’tor had treated her roughly. That should not have happened. Not in his hall. He’d failed to protect her… and that awareness chafed his pride. “You will get on the bed and let me examine you.”

“The hell I will. I’m fine. Where I’m from betas get knocked around all the time. That was nothing.”

“You are not there now. You are in my healing hall. Get on the bed.”

“For someone with no royal blood, you sure like ordering people around, Your Highness.”

Frustration made it easier to think past the strange effect this female had on him. Her scent was… good. Too good. Not exactly omega, but enticing all the same. More so now than ever. He needed to know why.

“Get. On. The. Bed,” he growled, biting back his words so he didn’t snarl at her. He wanted to. Surely that would put her in her place… but somehow he couldn’t.

Finally she looked at him, her little pointed chin lifted in challenge. “Kinda hard to do when you’re squashing me, you big bloody oaf!”

That gave him pause. She was right. He still had her crowded up against a wall, her delicate body pressing against his. How had he failed to notice that? Perhaps her defect was contagious?

He stepped back, smoothing a hand through his hair and taking a breath to center himself again. He’d been distracted by the change in her scent. That was all. “Now you are free, will you let me examine you?”

She ducked to one side and jogged away from him, favoring one leg. “Now I’m going to my cell like a good little prisoner.”

His control cracked and then shattered. “Serena!” He snarled her name and went after her. She yelled and ran faster, but it wasn’t nearly fast enough. He had her in his arms in two strides, pulling her in close to his chest as she kicked and struggled.

“Oi, asshole! What part of no don’t you understand? I’m fine. Now let me go!”

“I am the healer here, not you.” He carried her to the nearest examination table and set her down gently on it, activating the restraints the moment he released her.

A forcefield snapped in place over the bed and then constricted slowly until she was forced to lie back whether she wished to or not.

“Really? Now you’re tying me to the bed? Is this a kink or a control thing?”

He snarled at that. “This is just a medical restraint, but carry on and I’ll be more than happy to tie you to my bed.”

She gasped in outrage, and he pretended not to hear her, concentrating instead on the readouts. Nothing appeared to be seriously amiss but he wasn’t happy. He needed to touch her, to feel that she was uninjured, and nothing was better than real touch for a healer to work out that a patient was in fact, unhurt.

“You were limping a moment ago. Is your foot injured?”

She glowered up at him in stormy silence.

“If you don’t answer me, I’ll have to do a more thorough examination.”

“Bastard.”

“My parents were mated, and that was not an answer.”

“I twisted my ankle trying to get away from this scary as fuck asshole alien who growled and snarled at me. Or maybe I did it when the other asshole alien grabbed me. I was a bit too distracted to take detailed notes.”

“Thank you. I will now check your limb for damage.”

“It’s fine!” she insisted, the small jerk of her body indicating that she’d tried to yank her foot away from him. And was still doing so, her breath coming in short, hard pants.

“Do not fight the restraints,” he told her mildly, wrapping his hand around her leg just below the knee joint.

She was so tiny compared to him that he could easily touch his fingers to each other around the limb. An unbidden shiver hit him, sliding down his spine to reach around and encircle his balls. He paused for a moment in his examination to ponder the feeling. No, he couldn’t be feeling arousal for this defective female, surely? Not actual arousal that wasn’t linked to the chase or defending her from another.

“Fuck you,” Serena snarled. “I’ll fight if I want to. Why don’t any of you assholes understand what consent is?”

Despite her sharp words, Kinn noticed a new edge in her voice. Worry? Or something stronger. He breathed in again, letting her scent fill his mouth and nose. His cock twitched in response, but something else was there. Acrid. Bitter. Fear. But not the same as before.

“If you don’t consent to my treatment, you’ll be in pain. Why would you withhold it? Would you prefer to suffer?” Was that what was wrong with the other omegas?

“I’d prefer to be free of this place and you.” She gave one last twitch and gave up, her head falling back and her green eyes closing.

“You were starving to death when they brought you to me. Why would you want to go back to that life?”

She cracked open one eye to glare at him. “Because out there, I’m free. No one touches me without my consent. Here? I have food, clothes, and nothing else. Which would you choose?”

He paused, his hands still on her lower leg, considering her words. She surprised him. He’d always considered betas and omegas to be less… aware somehow. Less intelligent than alphas. Alphas were the pinnacle of genetic achievement, as was right and proper. But a keen intelligence shone in her eyes, and her words brought him up sharply as he considered them.

He shook his head, shaking his shoulders like a war-dog shedding water from its fur. “You are cared for here. Safe. Out of danger. As it should be.”

She snorted and closed her eyes again. “Out of danger? So what was that a few minutes ago? Because believe me, buddy, I felt endangered.”

He felt a pang of regret and something disturbingly like guilt. She had been attacked in his own hall and then he’d scared her. She was under his protection and deserved better than that.

Kinn removed the soft slipper from Serena’s foot. He’d taken her boots away after she’d tried to kick him the day after she’d arrived. Her ankle was swollen already, but his scans had indicated nothing serious was wrong.

These humans were just so xarthing delicate.

“I apologize for what happened earlier. I will ensure that never occurs again. You are my responsibility.” He didn’t look at her face as he spoke. He kept his focus on her ankle, touching the injured area lightly. It could be fixed easily enough. But first, he wanted to be sure that was the extent of her injuries. It seemed too minor for her to be so resistant to him.

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